Debt consolidation is the process of combining several debt accounts into one in order to make monthly payments more manageable. On the other hand, debt management does not involve any formal debt restructuring. Instead, debt management plans aim to reduce monthly payments and/or interest rates for your various accounts where possible. But your accounts will stay separated.
Assess your current debt total by listing out your debts, including credit cards, student loans, car loans and any other accounts. Track your spending to see where your money goes each month, identifying areas where you may be able to cut back. Compare your debt payment obligations and your spending to create a budget and determine how much you can realistically pay on your debt each month.
What lenders are looking for: Any reputable lender will check your credit history and ask about your income and debt when deciding whether to offer you a loan. Your credit history directly affects the interest rate you are offered, and so does your ability to repay the loan. Rates do vary from lender to lender, but here is what interest rates on personal loans look like, on average:
For example, if you owed $5000 on a credit card you could contact the issuer and offer to make a lump sum payment of $2500 to settle the debt. If you can prove that you are suffering from a serious financial hardship the credit card company might agree to settle for the $2500. You will need to have the documentation available to prove you really have a serious financial hardship including a list of all your debts, the amount you owe on each, the last time you were able to make a payment on them and any minimum payments.
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Just because you have a poor credit history doesn’t mean you can’t get credit. Creditors set their own standards, and not all look at your credit history the same way. Some may look only at recent years to evaluate you for credit, and they may give you credit if your bill-paying history has improved. It may be worthwhile to contact creditors informally to discuss their credit standards.
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Debt settlement may be one of the cheaper options because you only pay back a portion off your debt. However, debt settlement companies charge very high fees and your credit rating will tank. You can settle your credit card debt yourself. If you have a collection account you should call the creditor. Many creditors will offer a settlement if you make a lump sum payment. This way you can avoid the fees.
Lower monthly payment: A debt consolidation loan can help you avoid missed payments and defaulting on issuer agreements, even if you need to choose a longer term length. With a debt consolidation loan that lowers your monthly payments, but not your interest, you will pay more in total but have payments that are easier to handle. That way, you’re less likely to be subject to additional fees and penalty APRs that come with missing a payment.